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More COVID-19 variants could come if people remain unvaccinated

The next COVID-19 variant could be around the corner

The delta variant of the coronavirus.
The next COVID-19 variant could be around the corner, medical experts say.
Illustration by Alex Cochran, Deseret News

New major COVID-19 variants will emerge if people don’t get vaccinated against the coronavirus, experts recently told CNBC.

  • “Until the whole world is vaccinated, not just rich Western countries, I think we are going to remain in danger of new variants coming along and some of those could be more virulent than omicron,” Dr. Andrew Freedman, an academic in infectious diseases at Cardiff University Medical School, told CNBC.

Freedman said viruses “tend to become milder” with time, but that “isn’t always the case.”

  • “It may well be with future variants that they are even more contagious, they may be milder, but we can’t say that with certainty,” he told CNBC.

The world’s population may have dodged a bullet with the omicron variant, which has proven to create mild COVID-19 symptoms in those infected despite its high transmissibility.

But that doesn’t mean a new and riskier COVID-19 variant won’t pop up down the road. The Daily Beast recently reported about a potential new COVID-19 variant that could come in the future. It would be more dangerous, especially if it becomes a mix of the omicron variant and other COVID-19 variants like delta.

  • “Viruses evolve to survive. That can mean greater transmissibility, antibody-evasion or more serious infection. Omicron mutated for the former two. There’s a chance some future Sigma or Upsilon lineage could do all three,” according to The Daily Beast.
  • “Imagine a lineage that’s as transmissible as omicron but also attacks the lungs like delta tends to do,” according to The Daily Beast. “Now imagine that this hypothetical lineage is even more adept than omicron at evading the vaccines.”